Friday, February 29, 2008

Fwd: Race 1 recap

With just 1 race for the formula class today in marginal conditions, it was important to stay ontop of your game.
Keeping in the breeze was more benificial than even choosing the right side.
From the start, it looked like I was out the back door already as I chose to start near the pin with Fernando. We got rolled by the top 15 guys who got off the line. About 20 sec later I was finally able to get clear air and get off the line. Off to the left side I went with the top guys while the rest of the fleet sat on the line. We raced a double windward leeward course.
Up in front was Gonzolo and Sherman but the positions were changing rapidly as there were big holes around the course.
The second upwind I took a big chance and footed to the right side and overstood the last windward mark. It paid off as I gained 5 or 6 boards to finish 8th.
A good show for the first day on the new F2 board.
I was using the 2008 north warp 11.8 with a kashy 70 cm de fin. Most of the fleet was on 11.8s or bigger!
So far the results in the top 10 were:
1 Gonzo
2. Jesper
3 POR5
4 COL1
5 Diaz
6 Antoine
7 Sherman
8 Bodner
9 Britt
10 Fernando

2008 gear

Starboard 162

Race 1

1/2 the fleet gets off the line while the rest of the fleet struggles
for air,...
More soon
Sent from my iPhone

Still waiting for wind

Checking out all the new gear on the beach....north adjustable downhaul

Still waiting for the wind

2008 Hansen12.4
Mike Percy special

Waiting for the wind

Even Kashy is curious about the new fins
12:15 pm
Formula fleet tried to start 2 races with general recalls on both as
the fleet failed to get off the line.
Breaking for lunch and waiting for wind
Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Arrived in cocoa beach late this afternoon, just in time to get out on
the water for a quick sail before sunset in a 8-10k breeze. The
Brazilians were out in force as usual testing out the new 2008
Everything looks really well refined this year with the boards and
rigs looking very similar from one brand to the next. Time will tell
what's fast but as they say-it all comes down to the rider!
Alot of big name sailors and talent here for the midwinters but
unfortunatly the forecast doesn't look as fierce with 3 days of 5-10k
ahead of us.
Friday's first possible start is at 10 am, plenty of time to sit
around and wait....


Monday, February 25, 2008

Winter storm

It was a touch choice.
It really was....
Wait for the the building winter storm to pound the coast with big swell and even bigger winds or head to the mountains for the biggest dump of the year.
Saturday morning rolled around, the alarm went off at 4:45.
It was already blowing 30+ at the coast but the mountains were forecast for 36" plus powder dump starting Saturday afternoon through Sunday night.
As we drove to Kirwood on route 88 from San Francisco , the morning sun rose behind the western slope of the Sierra Nevada's.
Behind up was a storm about to unleash.
Around noon the storm hit and the skies let loose for the next 30 hours.
Non stop puffy flakes.
The sticky icky.
Atop the peak at Cornice it was a complete white out with gust going straight up the mountain.
The only relief was in through the forest, dodging the trees through the 18" of powder that dumped the previous 2 days.
Boarding in fresh powder gives you a sense of the invisible.
When you fall you just bounce right back up.

Sunday morning I woke up to another 24" of fresh powder that had fallen over night.
We couldnt get to the mountain fast enough.
By 10:30 we were carving the steepest slope at Sierra at Tahoe in 3' of of bliss.
The trails were covered, the woods were buried in snow.
I had to dig myself out several times as I got stuck a mere 100' from the trails edge.
The effort took 15 minute of digging and walking through waist and chest deep snow to get back to solid snow.
The biggest lesson I learned was to watch the fall line ahead of me, lean back and enjoy the ride.
I spend the whole afternoon in a winter bliss enjoying the moment.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

winter surprises

It was one of those days...
Wake up and check the forecast: 5-10k and not even from the right direction!
I made other plans to ride a new trail in the Marin headlands with a friend.
Huffing and puffing we made our way to the peak of alta trail to find some magnificent views.
The ride down through Tennessee Valley was fast and furious- dodging the Sunday morning trail walkers with families, dogs and kids.
Coming back to the city over the golden gate bridge, I noticed the breeze starting to fill in- some sailboats even beginning to heel on the Bay. Work could wait- there's wind!
I headed to the beach to find the local kite crew pumping up their kites. It was windy enough for the 11.0 so I headed out to get some practice runs for midwinters in 2 weeks.
With the ebb still kicking in the middle of the Bay, I made my up out the gate in 1 tack to find the surfers and the swell kicking up at fort point. Shawn Davis was there to capture the action again- check out his photos here.
Wave riding with a formula board and 11.0 takes a certain skill and mindset- namely stupidly.
I was careful to choose my waves and even more careful to gybe early as the inside shuts down fast with a void of wind near the shore- especially with a little south in it.
Nonetheless I managed to ride some good swell for the next 30 mnutes gybing back and forth between the south tower and fort point dodging the surfers who ventured outside to catch to outer sets coming in.
What does all this have to do with formula training- really nothing at all- except getting into the groove and enjoying oneself. Sometimes life gives you little treats and you have to be there to enjoy them.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Light wind technique

With only 1-2 days of wind per week, its been a tough month for windsurfing in San Francisco.
Nonetheless you take what you can get!
At least the swell under the gate has been up with the big pacific storms this winter.
I managed a few good runs between ft point and the south tower of the golden gate bridge this week for a sunset sail in the strong ebb tide. With an extreme low tide I saw some rocks at ft. point that I'd never seen before. Unfortunately David Wells actually found them! He was able to limp back to the Crissy with just a broken boom head an bashed ego.
The slalom session on SuperBowl Sunday ended up a shlog fest as I limped back to the beach after the wind died.
More recently, I got out on the north 2008 11.8 again for some light wind training. The outhaul is incredible sensitive on that sail. Too flat and you kill all the power in the sail. With it looser, you can find the right balance of power and control. One thing is for sure- the sail has a great feeling in that first moment you begin your pump.
Sailing in light air requires you to use a full arsenal of pumping technique. To get going from a non planning position you need to really use the body and power in the lower part of the sail. With a few powerful pumps you can get the airflow going around the sail and then start to work the leach with a more repetitious pump to build speed. Hook in and your good to go!
With the way a formula sail is designed- its not efficient to pump the sail upwind- except for a short period when you need to climb and make a mark or pump through a lull. The best technique here is to keep the sail as still as possible with very little clew movement- again working the leach of the sail. Its not so much of getting 1 or 2 good pumps but to keep a good rhythm of pumps to keep the sail going.
Here are some additional shots Shawn Davis took last w-end. Look for the full monty in the spring Windsurfing mag.